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The official blog of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Election Reflection: No Matter Who Is Running What, We’ll Keep Defending The Wall

Religious Right groups are crowing about the results of yesterday’s elections, and they have reason to: There’s no doubt that the next Congress is going to be more welcoming to right wingers who are obsessed with social issues.

With so many more far-right conservatives coming into Congress, it’s inevitable that we’ll see a ramping up of the “culture wars.” That’s unfortunate because I doubt that’s what most people were voting for yesterday. Read more

History Hysteria: Md. Dad Flips Out Over Daughter’s High School Study Of Islam

When an extremist dad found out his daughter had received an assignment to learn about the rise of Islam in history, he got more than a little upset. In fact, he went so far as to threaten the school.

The Maryland Independent in Charles County reported last week that Kevin Wood, a former corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was slapped with a no-trespassing order after he made vague threats over the phone to La Plata High School Vice Principal Shannon Morris. Read more

Mississippi Madness: Group Wants To Designate An Official Religion

A group in Mississippi is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to change the state constitution in several ways.

The proposal put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign is pretty wide-ranging and is being pitched as a way to protect “Southern” (read: pro-Confederate) culture. It contains 12 subsections. Read more

Workplace Worship?: New Seminary Course Could Be Master Class In Religious Discrimination

The Supreme Court in June handed down its verdict in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell, and, just as we feared, that ruling’s reverberations continue to be felt as the Religious Right adopts the cause of corporate religion. Now, Moody Theological Seminary in Chicago has introduced an initiative that appears directly inspired by the ruling – and motivated by a desire to encourage more business owners to introduce religion into secular workplaces.
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We’ve Got (Hate) Mail!: Right-Wing Pastors React To AU’s Pulpit Politicking Letter

Every other year during election season, Americans United reminds clergy nationwide to stay out of partisan politics.

Most religious leaders have no problem respecting the federal tax code’s prohibition against campaign intervention by houses of worship and other non-profits that are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Read more

Praying For Common Sense: Many People Of Faith Support Secular Public Schools, Too

A recent Christianity Today column provides an evangelical argument for keeping public schools secular.

Author Caryn Rivadeneira, who identifies herself as a devout Christian, objects to the idea that public schools are devoid of prayer, and of God Himself. She argues that for believers, God is present everywhere. Read more

Valiant Vote: Alaska Assembly Decides Against Government-Sponsored Prayers

A local government in a conservative state recently made a surprising decision – it voted not to open its meetings with an official prayer.

The Ketchikan, Alaska, Gateway Borough Assembly voted this week not to incorporate official invocations into its meeting agenda by a count of 5-2.

Given the controversial nature of this issue, there was quite a bit of debate before the vote. KTOO News, an Alaska radio network, reported that 10 people spoke in favor of official prayer and eight against it. Read more

Atrocious Amendment: Alabama’s Anti-Sharia Ballot Measure Is Unnecessary, Unconstitutional

Next month, Alabama voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on Amendment One, which would add a provision to the state constitution that ostensibly attempts to ban Islamic, or Sharia, law. It’s hardly the first bill of its kind. Last year, state legislatures in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Oklahoma debated similar measures; Missouri’s bill never made it past the governor’s desk. In the other states, the bills were limited to family law. Read more

Ralph Reed’s Rebound?: Fallen Fundamentalist Icon Hopes To Influence Upcoming Elections

As the November elections approach, it seems a second-tier advocacy group run by a disgraced Religious Right icon is gearing up to make a major impact.

Politico reported this week that Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition (FFC) is planning an all-out blitz in states like Colorado, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Louisiana and North Carolina in the hope that Republicans and can take control of the U.S. Senate. Read more

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